Omar Epps
Omar Epps

Omar Epps
has landed the top role in ABC's serial adaptation of author Jason Mott's debut novel, The Returned.

You might recall the December announcement that Mott's novel had been optioned by Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company, with the goal being to develop a TV drama series for ABC, based on the "high concept" novel.

In light of conversations we've had on this site about the dearth of novels by black authors optioned and adapted for the screen (big or small) here in the USA, and in this case by a high profile, A-lister like Brad Pitt, it didn't take much coaxing to get me to act on the opportunity to interview Jason Mott, while I still could, before he becomes one of the so-called "untouchables" in Hollywood, when it would become a challenge to reach him.

Jason Mott
Jason Mott

Thankfully, Jason obliged when I inquired about an interview, which took place before the holidays, and which I was posted in early January HERE, if you missed it.

The novel, The Returned, won't be published until September 2013, so I obviously haven't read it, and I'm guessing no one else as - well, except for those who are involved in the TV adaptation of it. 

There was reportedly a bidding war for the rights to the novel, among several production companies and studios, suggesting that it's a strong, commercial, high concept work that will translate well to the screen.

So, what's The Returned about? Here's its short synopsis:

A family gets caught up in a worldwide event in which loved ones return from the dead exactly as they last were in life. Lucille and Harold Hargrave wonder: Is their dead eight-year-old son’s return a miracle or an impending sign of something horrible? 

Omar Epps will star as Martin Bellamy, who's described as:

... an agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He's a former cop who joined ICE when he got involved with a case involving the trafficking of children. He's empathetic with a soft spot for kids -- despite not having a family of his own -- and is fascinated by Jacob (newcomer Landon Gimenez), a mysterious boy who popped up from nowhere in the middle of rural China.

Epps will lead a cast that already includes Kurtwood Smith, Devin Kelley, Matt Craven, Frances Fisher, Sam Hazeldine, Samaire Armstrong, Nicholas Gonzalez and Mark Hildreth.

Casting is close to completion, with an Atlanta, GA shoot planned.

Criminal Minds' Aaron Zelman is writing the pilot, which will be directed by Charles McDougall.

Congrats Mr Epps!